Stanley Johnson said he’d imagine Margaret Thatcher saying ‘if the Irish want to shoot each other, they’ll shoot each other’

Boris Johnson’s father, former MEP Stanley Johnson, has “apologized profoundly” for the shocking comments he made about the Irish on a British talk show last year.

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During an appearance on ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ last October, Stanley Johnson was part of a discussion regarding who should be on the new  £50 banknote in the UK.

Johnson was a firm supporter of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher being featured, while his co-panelist George Calloway was in opposition. 

One of the hosts asked Johnson if Thatcher, who died in 2013, would have been able to negotiate Brexit. At the time of the 'Good Morning Britain' discussion, Theresa May was still Prime Minister and the Brexit deadline had yet to be delayed amidst the impasse.

Johnson replied: “Do you know what Mrs. Thatcher would have said? She would have said it’s quite intolerable that this whole question of a Northern Ireland border has come to dominate the decision about the future of our country.”

Johnson was then asked, how would Thatcher fix it?

“Oh, she would have said, ‘Look, if the Irish want to shoot each other, they will shoot each other, whether there is a hard border or whether there is a soft border. That is something the Irish will do if they want.”

“It’s actually Britain that shot most Irish people,” George Calloway quickly notes.

You can watch the exchange on 'Good Morning Britain' here, with Johnson's comments coming in about 6:05:

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"Apologize profoundly"

On Tuesday, the same day his son Boris endured a brutal first day back in Parliament, Stanley Johnson told Newstalk Breakfast that he was apologetic for his comments last year.

Stanley told Newstalk that he “shudders” to think of the “amount of abuse” his son receives as Prime Minister, adding that “Boris absolutely doing the right thing here” regarding his management of Brexit. 

“I cannot fault him in comparison with the previous administration. He has set a direction of travel and he is going down it. Even from the Irish point of view, this is exactly the right route to go down.”

“He is doing his very, very best to avoid the No-Deal Brexit, and the No-Deal Brexit is possibly one which will hurt the Irish economy, it’ll certainly hurt the European economy, it doesn’t need to be there at all. Boris has moved the dial on this one, he is continuing to move the dial.”

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When asked about the Irish comments he made on 'Good Morning Britain' last year, Johnson said: “I’m terribly sorry if I said that, obviously I did say that, I would like to apologize profoundly."

“Peace in Northern Ireland is absolutely crucial, absolutely vital. We have the Good Friday Agreement.”

“But the point I’m trying to get at here - both the Irish government and the British government have made it absolutely clear that under all circumstances they are not going to construct a hard border in Northern Ireland, that goes without saying.”